THE BLOG

Part Three: There Are Three Gay Children In Every School Classroom, And They Deserve Your Acceptance

13/09/2016 09:45

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This is the third blog post in an insightful and inspirational four-part series documenting Ben's journey to understanding, accepting and embracing his sexuality.

I felt it was now time to tackle the issue of my sexuality - and my ability to accept who I am - once and for all.

Those who bully, mock or reject others on the grounds of thinking that the way they act is 'gay' need to see that, actually, being 'gay' is not a sign of weakness or something to be mocked for, but that sexuality is just one, small, positive part of who you are.

I asked myself; Do you really want to lie on your death bed and bitterly regret living a lie, hiding your identity, wishing that you had found the confidence to be happy and content in life?

Do you really want to look back on your life and wish that you hadn't let negative comments and hateful homophobia limit you and stop you from living a positive and fulfilling life?

I questioned whether I was really going to let the words of homophobic and hateful individuals result in me wasting my precious lifetime drowning in self-hatred and fear. Surely, I thought to myself during one particularly philosophical session, life is too short, too precious and too valuable to be wasted not being happy with, and being proud of, who you authentically are?

Gay people are normal people, from every walk of life and every single area of society, including rugby players Gareth Thomas and Keegan Hirst, footballer Robbie Rogers and Boxer Orlando Cruz.

It was not long before I realised just how much I would prefer to spend my last few hours alive reflecting on how I'd found the courage to stop fearing the 'haters', to have lived as my authentic, free self and to have hopefully inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of people along the way.

By recognising that people from every walk of life and profession are homosexual, we can see just how normal and acceptable being gay is - and, as a result, see the need to accept and celebrate each person for who they are.

Empowering others is something I feel deeply passionate about due to the fact that I know I am not alone in my struggle to understand, accept and embrace my sexuality.

It's thought that between one in 10 and one in 15 young people are Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual. This means that 3 young people in every classroom are potentially gay and so not only going through the challenging personal struggle to understand and accept their true selves but also the struggle to overcome the painful abuse, bullying, mocking and rejection that the majority of people who are judged to be, or come out as, gay endure.

These young people are individual human beings who, just like every single other person on this planet, simply want to live a happy, positive and fulfilling life. Yet because of bullying, homophobia - the vast majority of which is ingrained into the very fabric of society - and a culture in which the idea of being 'gay' is still seen as a negative, derogatory insult, these young people feel unable to do something that so many people take for granted without a second thought; accept themselves, believe in themselves and feel comfortable in their own skin.

As Shakespeare's Hamlet says so well: 'This above all, to thine own self be true'.

I have come to realise that being ashamed of and trying to hide my sexuality or personality, is, in a way, saying that the haters and homophobes are right or that they have 'won'. As a believer that goodness, kindness and love should always triumph, I simply cannot allow this to be the case.

Those who bully, mock or reject others on the grounds of thinking that the way they act is 'gay' need to see that, actually, being 'gay' is not a sign of weakness or something to be mocked for, but that sexuality is just one, small, positive part of who you are.

We also need to work to overcome the stereotypes and slurs surrounding the idea of being 'gay'. There is no stereotypical gay person. From high-profile, and very masculine, rugby players such as Keegan Hirst and Gareth Thomas, to top Business Executives such as the CEO's of WH Smith, Burberry, HSBC, Quantas, Monarch and the Managing Directors of Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered, Visa Europe, Virgin Holidays and Costa International, not to mention Olympians such as Gus Kenworthy and TV Personalities such as Ellen De Generes, absolutely anybody can be gay. Gay people are normal people, from every walk of life and every single area of society.

This is not a rehearsal - this is everything we'll ever have, and we have to celebrate and embrace that.

By recognising that people from every walk of life and profession are homosexual, we can see just how normal and acceptable being gay is - and, as a result, see the need to accept and celebrate each person for who they are.

Now, it's one thing to celebrate others who have found the courage to embrace their sexuality, but how can one individual move from a place of pain and self-rejection to a place of empowerment and self-acceptance? What does it take for a young person struggling to understand and accept their sexuality to find the courage, confidence and strength to feel liberated from the burden of shame, fear and the feeling of being out-of-place in this world?

I think that we must keep in mind that we only have one lifetime. This is not a rehearsal - this is everything we'll ever have, and we have to celebrate and embrace that. For me, I think a great source of motivation for working to find the confidence to embrace my sexuality is the fact that we do only live once; you are never going to get the second you have experienced back.

Therefore, shouldn't you live each and every moment to the full in a happy and positive way? And I passionately believe that the only way we can do this is if we live as our authentic, original selves. As Shakespeare's Hamlet says so well: 'This above all, to thine own self be true'.

We aren't living this life for the haters. We aren't on this planet to let criticism, rudeness and bitterness drag us down. We are here to be a positive presence and to live as our authentic, original selves. We are privileged to be living in a golden age of acceptance and ever-increasing love and tolerance, and so we have the perfect opportunity to make our dream of living freely and as our true selves a reality.

And this is what happened when I did...

Coming Up in Part Four: Stepping Out Into the World as My Authentic Self, and My Powerful Message to All of Humanity.

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